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It’s a warm summer’s day. You’re driving along the Akaroa highway.
Your eye catches a sign with a hare on it.
It leads you to boutique vineyard Cross Hares and a cellar door, under the shade of the oaks, open most days 10am – 6pm.
A hare darts across the entry road.
“Usually, the hares sit under the vines of the vineyard,” says Natalie Edwards, owner of Cross Hares.
“What I like about them is they don’t bother us or the vines. They basically sit there as if we are the intruders.”
When thinking up a name for their business, they decided to name it after the hares that cross the vineyard. They wanted something memorable and unique to reflect their unorthodox way of entering into wine making.
Natalie and Warrick bought the Tai Tapu hillside property with an established vineyard back in 2014.
They immediately fell in love with the place and despite not knowing anything about grape growing, they continued previous owners Grant and Helen Whelan’s vision of producing award-winning wines.
“We could write a book on the things that we’ve done and the learnings curves we’ve had. We put a lot of love, sweat and tears into growing these grapes.”
After reestablishing a previous relationship with The Crater Rim Winery, the pair had their first double pick in 2016, which created their bronze winning pinot gris - a personal favourite of Natalie’s.
At the end of March, Natalie gathers her friends and family for a fun day of picking grapes.
“There’s nothing more awesome than the sound of a big bunch of grapes hitting the bottom of a bucket. You just want to get them off!”
Instead of using sprays, Cross Hares remove weeds in a sustainable way, by getting their sheep to strip out all the weed growth. They are now Biogro organic certified.
What Natalie loves the most about her business are her customers; the locals and tourists who add the cellar door as a destination in their adventure. They’ve even had one couple get engaged in their vineyard!
What attracts people to Cross Hares is the silky-smooth, award-winning taste of their pinot gris and pinot noir. Growing on basalt and volcanic soil, Cross Hares grapes have a flavour that sets them apart from other vineyards.
A taste which has won them two New Zealand Wine of the Year Bronze medals, two New Zealand International Wine Bronze medals and one New Zealand International Gold medal.
The gold for our Longbow Pinot Noir 2019 – validating our hard work!